Top Secrets from Successful Real Estate Agents

December 6th, 2013 9:42 am

Today, becoming a successful real estate agent takes more than just a license and a knowledge of current laws and regulations. The first thing is always passion. It’s a hard business and it takes a lot of attention to detail and a commitment to great customer service. The following secrets may help you become one of the most successful realtors in your area:

They have quick response. These realtors get a lead and don’t let it go. They immediately make contact and they follow up.  They answer any questions and are happy to stay on the phone with nervous clients. They are the warriors of email, text, and phone and they keep that rhythm right up through the whole transaction. Their clients feel like they are very important to the agent. They also switch their communication style to match the client. If the client prefers text, they text, if the client wants a phone call, they call. They mirror the client’s communication style so the client feels more comfortable.

They can make use of the latest technology. With tablets or smartphones, they do everything from anywhere. They make sure they have great data plans so they are never stuck without an internet connection. They try to go paperless as much as possible. They read a lot of information both about the real estate industry but also about general trends regarding technology.

They know their neighborhoods intimately. The phrase “neighborhood expert” gets bandied about quite a bit but when it comes to top agents, they are walking, talking encyclopedias of neighborhood lore. Ask a question about a street and they know what’s on the market, what sold recently, and the overall status of the neighborhood. Tell the agent what you like in a neighborhood and suggestions on places to look will come tumbling out. Looking to sell? The agent knows what is on the market, what just sold, and what you can get for your money. Why don’t you think about taking map classes to get familiar with the area arounding you? These days anyone can look at houses online but the top agents know what lurks below the surface and they keep their value that way.

They explain everything they are doing. Like straight A students doing math homework, successful agents show their work. When they meet with the client for the first time they explain the process, the potential roadblocks, and a few scenarios that could occur. They let the client know that they are negotiating, they keep in regular communication, and they adjust their strategy as needed.

They get leads any way they can. Nobody really likes to talk about leads but leads are how many agents get clients. A lead is an introduction to someone the Realtor hasn’t met yet. Smart agents are experimenters, they try out different types of lead sources, they explore different types of ad campaigns, and they take notes on what works and what doesn’t. They understand that having a social presence is important and that staying top of mind means being active with their clients through social media, through advertising, and even through more traditional methods such as postcard mailings. Postcards and bus stop bench ads are still around because they still work in some cases.

They have a great network. These agents don’t just have a network to bring them clients they have a network of top-notch partners who provide the same level of service they do. They know the best contractors, appraisers, lenders, and insurance providers in the business. They are what Malcolm Gladwell designated in the Tipping Point as a connector. The agent is the hub of a group of professionals that can advise and assist with anything real estate or home related. Top agents care for their network and are happy to refer clients that they know will get top care. They are ruthless about cutting out anyone who doesn’t provide great customer service to their clients.

5 Important Questions to Ask a Custom Home Builder

September 19th, 2013 4:08 am

If you’re ready to build a custom home, get ready to choose your builder carefully. You’ll be entering a relationship that can last from six months to eighteen months, and not all custom home builders operate with the same quality or ethics. The following five questions should help you choose one of the best builders:

1. Are you licenced?

All professional home builders must be licenced with the state government’s Building Services Authority to ensure that they comply with all building regulations and have the required qualifications to build the type of home that you are asking them to build. Your prospective home builder must be licenced, so they should be able to provide proof that they hold a current builders licence if you request to view it.

Any licenced builder should be able to provide you with their licence number. If you have any doubts that their licence is current, you can double check on the BSA website and search for their registered builders licence.

2. Do you have proper builders insurance?

All home builders must have a currently valid builders insurance policy – not only for themselves, but for anyone who they will be employing to work for them onsite.

Failure to hold an appropriate builders insurance policy could result in several potentially very serious issues. Firstly, if someone is hurt whilst working on your home and they don’t have the proper insurance, you could end up being found negligent in providing a safe working environment and so responsible for their injuries – therefore liable for huge court costs. Even worse, if the home builder himself is not properly insured, and problems arise with the home building process due to structural, environmental or a myriad of other possible issues, you could be the one left with a huge repair bill and in the worst case scenario, could even lose your home or become bankrupt!

3. Do you have any references from previous homeowners and can I speak to them?

Unfortunately, the famous saying, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is’, also applies to builders. Though there are many professional and competent builders in the field, a small number of them will embellish their claims and constantly cut corners.

There is no better way to find out how good a builder is than by asking previous customers of their experience. Ask your candidate builder for references from satisfied customers and ask if you can speak to them directly. If you detect any hesitation from your builder, simply walk away. Any good builder will be more than happy to supply you with a list of names and numbers of happy clients.

4. Can you give me a date for when my home build will be completed?

Depending on your particular house design and the block of land you’re building on, your home builder should have a reasonably accurate estimate of when your home build will be complete. All good builders will also be able to provide you with a staged schedule, outlining all the various phases of your home building process, so you can budget accordingly.

5. How much will my home build cost?

Assuming you’ve gotten this far, your prospective builder should be able to give you a firm answer to this question. If your builder seems in anyway uncertain or coy about providing you with a final cost estimate for your home build cost, you should be concerned. Insist that the costs for all the build phases are very clearly listed in the contract. Without a good contract in place, you could be liable for a whole host of hidden fees, charges and extra costs after your home build has been completed.

So, to ensure you select the best of the builders has on offer for your home build, make sure you do your due diligence by asking the questions above.